Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Braves dealt away another power bat as they continue an offseason makeover, trading slugger Evan Gattis to the Houston Astros in exchange for a trio of prospects.
Houston sent hard-throwing pitcher Mike Foltynewicz to the Braves along with right-hander Andrew Thurman and third baseman Rio Ruiz, with Atlanta also obtaining minor league hurler James Hoyt in the five-player deal.
Gattis has swatted a total of 43 home runs over his first two major league seasons while primarily splitting time between catcher and left field. The 28- year-old had 22 homers and 52 RBI while batting .263 last season, despite being limited to 108 games due to an assortment of injuries.
He joins an up-and-coming Houston team that ranked third in the American League with 163 homers in 2014 and had a void in left field, with Gattis also likely to see time as a designated hitter with the Astros.
Gattis becomes the third Atlanta player with at least 11 homers last season to be traded this winter. The Braves also shipped 2014 Silver Slugger winner Justin Upton to San Diego and moved outfielder Jason Heyward to St. Louis.
The Braves did receive a promising return in this deal, as Foltynewicz and Ruiz were ranked as the fourth and ninth-best prospects in a loaded Astros system by MLB.com.
Foltynewicz made his major league debut last season, appearing in 16 games as a reliever and posting a 5.30 ERA over 18 2/3 innings. The 2010 first-round pick has worked mostly as a starter in the minor leagues and struck out 102 batters in 102 2/3 innings at Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2014.
Ruiz, 20, batted .293 with 11 homers, 37 doubles, 77 RBI and a .387 on-base percentage at High-A Lancaster last season. Thurman, a second-round pick of Houston in 2013, spent all of 2014 at Low-A Quad Cities and went 7-9 with a 5.38 ERA over 26 games (20 starts).
Hoyt split the 2014 campaign between Triple-A Gwinett and Double-A Mississippi. The 28-year-old posted a 3.17 ERA with seven saves over a combined 52 relief appearances between the two levels.